Design a la Downton Abbey-ish

At Svaneholm Castle in south of Sweden you will now be able to enjoy beautiful designs a la Downton Abbey. The cloths were owned by Swedish ladies that have lived at the castle between 1860 to 1947. The cloths were bought in Copenhagen and Stockholm, for example the M. Bendix. The castle and its surroundings are beautiful and the exhibition nice. Don’t miss out if you have the opportunity.


What happens in Sweden?

The 6th of June is Sweden’s National Day. We’re in many ways a quite humble people – quiet, avoiding arguments and well educated. Today however we are allowed to really celebration our country. We don’t do it with patriotism, more with a nice day with friends and family, with music and dance and good food. 

I don’t very often look back in a nostalgic way but when it comes to fashion it’s fun. There’s so much to explore and lot of the traditional cloths and colours return in a modern touch. The skirt above is from the 1970th made by Katja Geiger, one of Sweden’s first successful designers. The print makes me think of a Swedish summer day in June, like the National Day.

Art & Fashion 

 Philip Treacy for Alexander McQueen 2008, photo from the book Art/Fashion in the 21st Century by Michelle Oakley Smith and Alison Kubler

Fashion today may in many ways be seen as contemporary art. They’re both comercial. Designers as well as ‘ordinary’ artists may see their work being sold in the secondary market many times. 

Museums nowadays have exclusive exhibitions showing good art craft of design. Alexander McQueen was one of those great artists but he is not alone.

The Metropolitan Museum in New York is now showing fantastic art of fashion. The new exhibition ‘Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garcons: Art of the In-Between’ is showing the world between fashion/art. I’m viewing the met website and I wish I could be there! It’s contemporary, wild, professional and beautiful. The wow-factor is high!

Art/Fashion in the 21st Century by Mitchell Oakley Smith and Alison Kubler  

Style with Grace Coddington, don’t miss out!

When I look at old Vogue magazines I keep admire the fantastic photos very much created by the ex Editor at the American Vogue, Grace Coddington. These photos are not only showing fashion, they all tell a story. 

Grace Coddington got famous in broader terms after the movie ‘The September Issue’. That’s when I heard about her and many with me. 

Grace Coddington was interviewed by Swedish Radio in the program Stil  (Style) a few weeks ago. The program is in both Swedish and English and you can therefore listen to it eventhough you may not speak Swedish. Don’t miss out! Stil P1 !

Great Company despite low Stock Price 

Part of a H&M advert in Swedish magazine Damernas Värld

The Business of Fashion recently launched their latest report of Best Companies to Work for in Fashion 2017. H&M was the 4th best company among 190. Before H&M there were Calvin Klein, Zalando, Cotton on Group and Nordstrom Inc. Pretty good I must say for a company who gets quite bad press from Swedish newspapers nowadays due to the stock price. Yes, the price has come down a lot but there are so much more with such global company who tries to do their thing in the sustainability issue. With H&M Foundation they highlight innovations and involvements that improve areas like education, water and equality around the world. Their perspective is for longterm and the work is serious. The fact that they are a popular company to work for makes it even more attractive. Forget about the stok price for short term.

Inspired by Roxy

Inspired by eyebrows. Photo by Sara Thorsson / Sagamodellen

Thick eyebrows with a good shape… this is high fashion for Swedish teenagers. 

I had the pleasure to have my best friend and her children as guests a few days ago. Her daughter Roxy, 13, is a remarkably clever young girl with strong opinions. Roxy came with pink/black hair and lots of make-up. But it wasn’t the pink hair I noticed, it was the perfect eyebrows. Roxy had nicely painted her eyebrows in a good shape. 

I know I sound old when I say it but today’s teenage girls have lots more attitude and personality than I had in her age. Already as 13 and Roxy claim her right to speak strongly about feminism and style (mostly make-up). 

Her personality reminds me of the female icon Frida Kahlo. There may not be a better role model for Roxy. She may be unknown today but certainly someone that Roxy could get inspired by in the future. At least she has eyebrows in common!

Nevertheless, Roxy’s make-up was fantastic and I am glad that she manage to experiment with such artistic moves. I hope she will continue doing so. As Frida Kahlo did.

Roxy with blue hair. Photo by Roxy.

Women of Fashion 

Valerie Steele is my fashion Icon. Not because she is the most beautiful and well dressed. I hardly know how she looks like. No, she is an fashion historian and Director for the Museum of FIT in New York. Read her books and you’ll see. 

One of the first one I read was the one above. Women designers are highlighted in this book as fashion history is mostly dominated by male designers. The book not only mention Chanel and Vivianne Westwood, we all know about those. No it is about others like Schiaparelli, Vionnet, Alix, Lanvin, Delaunay, Nina Ricci and Claire McCardell. (She misses out Katja of Sweden (!) but I guess she was not famous enough and therefore not part of the world fashion history! McCardell was the pioneer of ready-to-wear and mass production and also Katja of Sweden’s Teacher so I guess that will do.) 

Women dominated Paris fashion history in the 1920s and 1930s, according to Mrs Steele. The World War II meant a weakness of the Parisian couturiere and the success of the American ready-to-wear, which became a significant trend in the postwar period. Redy-to-wear meant more practicle and comfortable rather than sexual and restricted cloths. This started to be an important trend anyway, which was practiced by both male and female designers as you can not tell the gender of the designer by simply look at the design. 

Sewing has been part of womens work throughout history but it was when the production of cloths moved from home industry to business the profession was taken over by men. In the medieval Europe a tailor could only be a man. 

Well it is time to re-write history and Valerie Steele’s book is one important step to do so. There is time to highlight important female designers throughout history that has not been much in spotlight or quickly disappeared from it.